NEW YORK — Tavis Smiley has defended himself from allegations he had sexual relationships with subordinates and created an abusive workplace environment, denying any wrongdoing and saying PBS made a mistake by suspending him from his talk show. PBS fired back, saying he “needs to get his story straight.”

Smiley told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday that he’s never coerced anyone into a relationship but has had consensual relationships in the workplace. He said those relationships weren’t forbidden by the company he owns and he claims he never promoted or fired anyone based on their relationship with him.

“I’ve never groped. I’ve never coerced, I’ve never exposed myself inappropriately to anyone in 30 years,” Smiley said. “I’ve made mistakes – I’m human. I’m not perfect. But it doesn’t rise to the level of wrongful termination.”

Smiley said he applauds women coming forward to share their sexual assault and harassment experiences “to lead us in a conversation about how to create healthy workspaces.”

But he said “I want to make sure we don’t lose all sense of nuance and proportionality in this conversation, because if we do then people end up being guilty simply by accusation.”

PBS said Smiley’s acknowledgement of multiple relationships contradicted his previous statements.

“Tavis Smiley needs to get his story straight,” it said in a statement, which also promised more accusations.

PBS also derided Smiley’s claim that he applauds women who have come forward, saying that Smiley’s company hinders such actions by requiring former and current employees to sign non-disclosure agreements. “Witnesses who have bravely come forward to speak with the independent investigators retained by PBS report a fear of retribution for speaking out,” it said.

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